Whether you are considering working in the general transcription field or looking to hire someone, read on for all the facts on general transcription. This field offers a great service and can get the spoken word into written format; it’s full of opportunities.

What is General Transcription

Transcription is typing out what is on a recording, in other words, a transcriber listens to recordings and converts them to written documents. This is essential for so many businesses, organizations, and individuals. There are specific fields of transcription, like medical or legal, and anything other than that is general transcription. So the transcriber in the courtroom is not a general transcriber; neither is the transcriber working on medical documents. However, a general transcriber has a plethora of areas to work in. Often they may transcribe college lectures, podcasts, speeches, presentations, meetings…the list can go on and on.

This is also a great way to get into the field of transcription. Because you don’t need to know the medical or legal terms or have certification, it’s a little easier to get started in. Also, while medical and legal transcription requires more formal training, general transcription does not. Here’s a bit of good advice from Day Translations:

Being a general transcriptionist is typically suitable for those who are just starting out, enabling them to gain experience, and handle different topics. It could help them decide whether they want to specialize or remain a general transcriptionist.

It’s a great field for those interested in working with language. The opportunities for transcriptionists are growing rapidly, one reason is the Internet and all of our advancing technology. The Transcription Certification Institute tells us that the transcription service industry is witnessing rapid growth. With technological advancements and the Internet, information is abundant in the oral form, which people want to have documented.

What Skills are Required?

As we mentioned, for general transcription, no formal training or extensive medical or legal knowledge is necessary. However, there are certain skills that make for a better transcriber. First of all, a love of language is a great skill to have. Those who have a strong vocabulary and grammatical skills will do well in this field. Also, transcribers need to have a good, discerning ear. They aren’t always going to be transcribing great speakers. Often, a meeting will need to be transcribed or a phone call. As a general transcriber, you could sit in on various situations like presentations, conference calls, or seminars; not all of these have clear, professional speakers.

Back to that love of language, Day Translations tells us Your command of a language should be in both the colloquial and formal styles. Your grammar and spelling skills should be excellent, and you should also have good knowledge of punctuations. Remember, there is no punctuation or spelling in spoken language; it’s up to you to get it right. Incorrect spelling can cause distraction or misunderstanding.

The misplacement of a comma can change the entire meaning of a sentence. Many of us are familiar with this comma joke: I like cooking my dog and my family. compared to I like cooking, my dog, and my family. Yeah, you get it.

The ability to research is also important for a general transcription professional. Sometimes you may not know the spelling or details so it’s important to be able to find them. Transcription Wing shares that great research skills are a big help for catching words or terminologies they’re unfamiliar with, as well as for researching crucial information and proper nouns like names, acronyms, companies, establishments, or brands in general.

Ahhh, and let’s not forget the ability to type and type well. This will make everything go smoother and quicker. Along with typing goes proficiency in working with technology.

Soft Skills

As far as your soft skills go, to be successful at transcription, you’ve got to have that strong attention to detail. It’s often the small details in transcription that make the documents successful and meaningful. For instance, it might be easy to skip over filler words such as like and ummm, but a transcriber can’t do that. Repetitive words must be written, as well as laughter or pauses. Think about dialogue in a novel. That which has details like pauses or stutters is more genuine than perfect speech.

You’ve also got to be able to okay with transcribing incorrect or misspoken words. If the speaker uses a word or phrase incorrectly, for instance, if he says “We was going to the game,” that’s how you have to write it. It’s not your job to correct incorrect grammar or word choice. Your job is to write exactly what you hear. However, there may be instances where you’ll have to write the closest thing you can if the words are mumbled or jumbled.

Another skill to have to be successful is the ability to work independently and meet deadlines consistently. This work is all you; you’re on your own, and when your client wants it, have it ready. Along with accuracy and efficiency, this will take you far.

general transcription

Some Popular Projects for General Transcription

We’ve touched on some projects you may be working on as a general transcription professional, but let’s get back to that. Some of our most common transcription projects are:

  • dissertation
  • sermon
  • seminar
  • interview
  • lecture
  • podcast
  • meeting
  • documentary

Let’s take one of these and break it down; how about podcasts? First off, having a transcript is important for many reasons.  For one, it’s a written document of what you’ve said. It not only provides a written record, but makes it more accessible to everyone. Podcast transcriptions and episode notes also widen your SEO reach and audience engagement.

How it works

So how does transcribing work? Let’s get back to the podcast. First off, a 30-minute podcast is going to take much longer than 30 minutes to transcribe. That’s a reason general transcription professionals must have great typing and technology skills. Simply put, the transcriber will play the podcast and write the words. There may be stopping and starting or slowing down the speech. One reason people like to hire transcribers is though it’s not difficult work, it can be time-consuming. A podcaster may rather work on their next show than spend time transcribing the current one.

Finding Work in General Transcription

There are a few ways to find work as a general transcriber. One is to be hired in house and work for a company. It’s a great way to have consistent work. On the other hand is a freelance transcriber. These guys find the work on their own and work on their schedule to their own specifications. This has advantages as well. And somewhere in the middle are professional transcription services, like our own Bunny Studio. Not only is this a great way to work, but it’s also where many professionals and others seeking general transcription work come.

As you find your best method of work, take some things into account like your ability to work at home and how to get started. If you’re working at home, try to find a quiet space, a comfortable chair, and a place to call your “work space.” It will make you more productive and feel more professional.

Because so many people are seeking general transcription, this should be a great field to take on. We also want to mention how transcription makes audio more accessible to people with impaired hearing. This article shares a bit on the American with Disabilities Act and tells us that there are specific legal requirements established in the United States regarding transcriptions for disabled people. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) establishes a series of anti-discrimination provisions. It requires that an equivalent experience be made available for deaf or hard of hearing people. 

If you find you are good at what you do, finding work in general transcription should not be too difficult. And as you get more experience you may find you’d like to specialize in an area, perhaps even medical or legal.

Hiring a General Transcription Professional

Now let’s devote a bit of time to those looking to hire a general transcription professional. Whether you want a meeting transcribed or a podcast, you’ve come to the right place. Here at Bunny Studio, our transcribers can take on your project and deliver in a professional manner you’ll love. You don’t have to worry about negotiations or checking backgrounds. We also share an upfront price and guarantee your satisfaction.

You can also find a general transcriber through other methods. If you want to hire a freelancer on your own, make sure to check their experience and pricing structure. Check to make sure that they can deliver the transcription when you want it. If you find someone you love, you may want to use them again and again. Often hirers like to chat a bit with their potential transcriber to make sure they are on the same page. It’s a great way to see how engaged and interested a freelancer is. Do they ask questions? Do they sound confident? Have they done this work before? All of these are legitimate things to think about.

Summing up General Transcription

Sigmund Freud said, Words have a magical power. They can either bring the greatest happiness or the deepest despair. Those words can be spoken or written, or both. Your job as a transcriber is to keep the integrity of the spoken word as you put it into writing. You are giving longevity to words, allowing them to be studied and read, providing access to those who may not be able to hear them. It’s a gift. Words are a gift.

If you are looking to work as a general transcriber or you’d like to hire one for your project, let us know here at Bunny Studio. We pride ourselves on our pros, and we’d love to chat with you either way.